UNENDING SURGE in banditry, kidnappings and insane killings in Nigeria’s Zamfara State, north-west of the country, is further attracting government attention. Government, speaking through its Acting Inspector General Of Police, Mohammad Adamu, has ordered foreign nationals to leave mining sites in the state within 48 hours – it is linking the surge in banditry, kidnappings and killings to activities of miners.
Government action followed attacks that killed about 50 persons in the State at the weekend. Demonstrators from Zamfara State, were seen in Abuja, Saturday, protesting the situation and asking President Buhari to decisively act to end criminal activities in the State, rather than ignoring the situation that is deteriorating.
Tweets from President Muhammadu Buhari’s office said intelligence reports “clearly established a strong and glaring nexus between the activities of armed bandits and illicit miners” in Zamfara. The president denied that he was ignoring the violence. “How can I be happy and indifferent to the senseless killings of my fellow citizens by bandits?” he said.
Zamfara State has been war theatre in which bandits and kidnappers have had upper hand. Masses of people have been killed in Zamfara. Both government in the state and the people have become helpless. Nigeria’s Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, warned foreign miners who violate the order would have their licences revoked.
IGP Adamu said: “As part of sustained efforts to flush out, and permanently put an end to armed banditry and criminality in Zamfara State, in particular, and the northwest in general, the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with the Nigerian Military and other security services has commenced ‘Operation Puff-Adder’, which is a full-scale security offensive against the bandits”.
Adamu said investigations established link between activities of bandits and illicit miners, and security forces would be dispatched to the state. IGP’s statement was entitled, ‘Security Situation In Zamfara And Neighboring States, Police, Military and DSS Intensify Joint Operations Against Bandits, FG Suspends All Mining Activities In Zamfara And Its Environs.’
Zamfara is known to have vast deposits of gold, with artisan miners in the forefront of smuggling mined gold to neighbouring Niger and Togo, backed by foreign nationals in the sector. Suspension of mining activities Zamfara affect neighbouring states.